Unprecedented flooding in Latin America sees more than 150,000 people evacuated

Flooding in Paraguay’s capital Asuncion. Photo credit: Reuters / Jorge Adorno.

By Anders Lorenzen

During the Christmas period, parts of Latin America experienced the worst flooding in 50 years.
In Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, it is estimated that over 150,000 people have been forced to flee their homes as their countries are experiencing unprecedented flooding.
Paraguay is by far the worst affected country, as more than 100,000 people so far have been evacuated. Heavy rain, in part brought on by the weather phenomenon El Nino, has caused many rivers to swell. And The River Paraguay, which runs through the capital Asuncion, has reached its highest level since 1992.
So far the floods have killed six people in Paraguay and two in Uruguay, and it has triggered emergency situations in both countries. Governments have struggled to provide people with shelter, food and basic needs and there is an increased worry about the spread of illnesses.
While the flooding has been attributed to El Nino, no credible link has yet been made linking it to climate change. But it is estimated that the severity of El Nino has been made much worse by a warming climate. And scientists are saying that the extreme weather we have seen across Europe, the US, Australia this Christmas period is consistent with the rise of extreme weather events. We are likely to see an increase of such events in the future, as climate change continues to have a broader and greater impact.

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